My name is Claire Taylor and I’m currently the course leader for BTEC Dance. We’re so pleased you’ll be coming to Reigate College to study Dance and we’re looking forward to you joining our busy department at the beginning of the academic year.
Over the coming months, I’d like you to complete a series of tasks and activities to prepare you for the start of the course. These tasks should all be completed independently at home, but you’ll have the chance to talk about what you’ve learnt with other Dance students when your lessons begin in September.
All the tasks should be completed by Choices Day on 25 August. Have fun working through them and remember to keep practising your Dance skills.
The tasks will be released here in three phases:
Explore your Subject – 4 May
Dance helps to communicate a message and incites feelings and emotions
in its audience in different ways. It comes in many different forms that
demonstrate the varied approaches and styles that have existed and evolved over
Exploring the subject of Dance will help you to build on these
variations and the thought processes behind the choreography, to help you on
your path to becoming a choreographer or professional dancer.
Choreography and performance – a case study
As you’ll be aware, performance is a significant part of Dance
programmes and at Reigate College, our successful Hot FeetDance Show is
choreographed by students annually and enjoyed by all. The dance ‘Cage of Bones’
was incorporated into the Hot Feet
performance last year, which is a great example of how you can work with a
piece of professional repertoire and make it your own.
‘Cage of Bones’ by Travis Wall and Maddie Ziegler through the following Youtube
For their Hot Feet performance, Reigate College students used the original choreography from the duet to create a group piece.
about how you would go about creating a group piece from the ‘Cage of Bones’
Researching choreography and choreographers
Following on from the above exercise, you should try to expand your
knowledge of choreography.
TASK Please research and watch some more examples of choreography on YouTube. Here are the names of four choreographers you should include in your research:
Award-winning Bob Fosse choreographed the stage musicals Chicago and Cabaret among others. Find and watch some of his choreography, such as ‘Cell Block Tango’ (from Chicago) and ‘The Rich Man’s Frug’ and ‘Big Spender’ (from Sweet Charity). (You can find out more about him and his relationship with actress and dancer Gwen Verdon by watching theeight-part drama Fosse/Verdon, currently available on BBC i-player)
Phillip Chbeeb is a hip hop choreographer who fuses contemporary together with hip hop. Take a look at his dance video ‘Slip’
Jerome Robbins was an American choreographer and dancer, behind many successful Broadway shows including West Side Story, The King and I and Fiddler on the Roof. Watch some of his famous dances from West Side Story
American dancer and choreographer Travis Wall specialises in contemporary dance and jazz. You might like to watch his ‘Cage of Bones’ dance again now
you’ve researched each of the above choreographers and watched some examples of
their work, please write a paragraph on each one. You should detailtheir styleof dance, their achievements and what you personally
think influences them from watching
Please list at least three
research methods you’ve used when completing this activity.
Finally, in preparation for starting the course, we’d like you to carry out the Skills Audit below. This will form part of the unit of study on developing skills and techniques.
Please answer the following questions
giving as much detail as possible. Remember, this is to get an accurate picture
of your experience so far so you can build on it during the course – there are
no right or wrong answers!
What choreographic experience do you have? This could include any teaching you’ve been
responsible for or leading. If none say none!
What technical experience do you have? What physical skills can you do; how
flexible are you; what do you need to work on?
What are your main dance achievements to date?
What have you done that you consider to
be good practice?
What assessments or examinations have you
taken? If none say none.
What performance experience have you got?
What do you want to do for a career? Do you want a career in Dance? If not, can
you say what you do want to do? You may not know at this stage.
Who are your favourite choreographers and why?
Which is your favourite performance that you’ve
seen and why?
What do you hope to get out of taking this Dance
You should complete this section of tasks by 1 June.
Get Going – 1 June
Welcome back. I hope you’re
making the most of your time not doing GCSE exams! This unexpected free time gives you some
valuable time to explore the exciting world of contemporary dance.
below are three ‘Get Going’ tasks that I’d like you to complete by 1 July, at which
point you’ll be set some final ‘Aim High’ tasks ahead of you starting at the
College in September.
The tasks are designed to develop your knowledge and understanding of contemporary dance technique, ahead of starting the course in September.
1. Please watch the following four videos on Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Merce Cunningham and Jose Limon.
As you watch them, please record five facts about the choreography
or technique of these pioneers of contemporary dance. Your notes should be written up in a Word
document, or if you don’t have access to a PC, just write your answers into a
notebook. Either way, please bring your
findings with you at the beginning of the Autumn Term.
2. For your second task, please watch the four additional videos below and write a paragraph about the use of the following dance components – as they appear in each film: Action, Space, Dynamics and Relationships.
Martha Graham/ Diversion of Angels
Doris Humphrey/Water Study/Momentum Dance Co
Merce Cunningham/Pond Way
Please print off this handout (if you can) and take the time to read it. You can then save it as a resource in your new Dance file.
Aim High – 1 July
From 1 July
Once you’ve taken part in the College’s first ever Virtual Introductory Day on 30 June, you will be asked to complete a more formal Aim High task (posted here) that it is mandatory for all new students to complete before Choices Day on 25 August.